Kuwait Allows Women to Join Military Service in Combat Roles for the First Time

Kuwaiti women will now be allowed to register for military service as special officers, non-commissioned officers and personnel, said Kuwaiti army on Tuesday. They can now join the combat roles for the first time after years of having been restricted to civilian roles.

Kuwait's deputy prime minister Sheikh Hamad Jaber Al-Ali Al-Sabah, who also serves as the minister of defense, issued a ministerial decision to open registration for Kuwaiti women to join national military service, where applicants will serve in the field of medical and military support in the initial stage. The decision was announced on the sidelines of the 'Be among them' campaign, which aims to attract Kuwaitis to volunteer for military service.

Door has been Opened for Women to Join Various Combat and Officer Ranks

The first batch of female army personnel will range between 100 to 150 women, according to Al Qabas newspaper.

The minister said the time had come for Kuwaiti women to join the Kuwaiti army with their brothers, news agency KUNA reported.

"Kuwaiti women have proven their achievements in several fields, and accordingly approval was given for women to enter the military corps along with men," he said.

Sheikh Hamad added that the decision "comes from the role and responsibility of the Kuwaiti army in protecting the country and maintaining its security and stability from any external danger, providing support to government agencies to face any internal developments and to enable Kuwaiti citizens to join the honor of military service".

The minister expressed confidence in women's "capabilities... and their ability to endure hardship".

Kuwaiti women can now serve military in combat roles
Kuwaiti women can now serve military in combat roles Representative Image/ Twitter

As reported by the Kuwait Times, he recalled the heroic roles, tasks and actions of Kuwaiti women over the past years to serve and defend their country, particularly during the Iraqi occupation of Kuwait in 1990, as well as their contribution to addressing the coronavirus pandemic in cooperation with their medical colleagues.

Entry of Kuwaiti Women in Male-Dominated Fields

The Kuwaiti government acknowledged last month that it was considering such a move, but its confirmation now places it amongst the ranks of its neighbors such as Bahrain, Oman, and Saudi Arabia, which allowed women to serve in 2018, according to The Middle East Monitor.

Kuwait has made significant progress in the last few years in assuring the rights of women to work in various fields dominated by men.

In 2005, Kuwaiti women earned the right to vote and have been active both in cabinet and parliament — though they did not gain any seats in the current parliament, reported AFP.

In 2008, Saad Al-Abdullah Academy for Security Sciences decided to open registration for women to join the Kuwaiti police force. Furthermore, the number of female judges in Kuwait rose to 15 after seven new female judges were accepted in May.